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Want to live longer? Be optimistic in life!

Posted on : Friday 9th of December 2016

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New Delhi: Scientists have found that always having an optimistic outlook towards life - a general expectation that good things will happen - can add years to a person's life.

As per a new research, women who maintain a positive outlook on life are less likely to die from several major causes of death - including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and infection, than those who are less optimistic.

"While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference," said Eric Kim, research student at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, US.

"Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviours and healthier ways of coping with life challenges," Kim added.

One other possibility is that higher optimism directly impacts our biological systems, Kim said.

For the study, the team analysed 70,000 women's levels of optimism and other factors that might play a role in how optimism may affect mortality risk, such as race, high blood pressure, diet and physical activity.

The results showed that most optimistic women had a nearly 30 per cent lower risk of dying from any of the diseases analysed in the study compared with the least optimistic women.

Previous studies have shown that optimism can be altered with relatively uncomplicated and low-cost interventions, even something as simple as having people write down and think about the best possible outcomes for various areas of their lives, such as careers or friendships, the researchers said, adding that encouraging the use of such interventions could be an innovative way to enhance health in the future.

The study has been published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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